Collections Up Close

collections up close Blog

Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future


The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.

See Collections Up Close Blog Archive

All MNHS Blogs

Subscribe by e-mail:

Copy of a telegram from Edward C. Gale to raise money for a new Hospital - April 11, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 11, 2017

This is a copy of a telegram sent out by Edward Gale requesting money to be donated in the name of the University of Minnesota to the American Red Cross, who would then donate it to the United States War Department for a new Military Base Hospital. Among the donors were William and Charles Mayo, who donated $15,000 of the estimated total cost of $30,000 for the hospital, which was to have 500 beds. The rest of the money was to be donated by Minneapolis businesses.



April 11, 1917.
Mayos of Rochester offer government one half cost equipment military base hospital five hundred beds provided Minneapolis constitute other half namely Fifteen Thousand Dollars Doctor Law chief staff Gift designated University Minnesota Hospital Twelve Thousand already raised Contributions from fifty to five hundred dollars Shall we put you down?
Edward C. Gale


University of Minnesota Base Hospital Committee records, 1917-1918. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P2173]

Minnesota Violin

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 11, 2017
Image of violin

A violin made by Charles E. Herbrig of Saint Paul, Minnesota, 1931. Consists of a standard wood violin, a wood and horsehair bow, and a leather case with velvet interior. Used by Arnold F. Bauer, a music teacher with Minneapolis Public Schools.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this violin in our collections database.

Minneapolis Bars Then and Now

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 10, 2017
Image of 5 o'clock club

Gratuitously stealing the title from one of our favorite Minnesota history books, Twin Cities Then and Now by Larry Millet, Item of the Day presents an occasional series, Minneapolis Bars Then and (sometimes) Now.

This photograph shows the Five O’ Clock Bar and Restaurant at 34 S. 5th St in 1959. This location is definitely not a bar anymore; the Nic apartment building now stands at the corner of Nicollet Mall and 5th St.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this photograph in our collections database.

Letter from Mrs. Horace Lowry of the American Red Cross to Mrs. J.E. Reyerson - April 10, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 10, 2017

When Mrs. Reyerson, President of the Aid Society of the Presbyterian Church, asked the Red Cross if her group could assist in any way, they responded with different options for work that her group could choose from. Mrs. Lowry of the Supplies Committee of the Red Cross inquired which type of work, from sewing by machine or hand to bandage-making, Mrs. Reyerson’s society would like to assist with. Even though a special course was required for bandage-making, Mrs. Lowry offered to send an instructor to the aid society.




April 10, 1917.
Mrs. J. E. Reyerson,
Dawson, Minn.
Dear Mrs. Reyerson:
We appreciate very much your offer to help us and we feel that all Minnesota should have their share in supplying materials for our own Minnesota Base Hospital. What type of work would your ladies like best? Would they prefer sewing by machine, sewing by hand, or making bandages and surgical supplies? In the latter case it would be necessary either for several of your ladies to come to Minneapolis and take our course of lessons in making surgical supplies, or to have one of our instructors go to you and give class instruction in the same.
Thanking you for your offer of help,
Very truly yours,
(Mrs. Horace Lowry)
Chairman Supplies Committee.


American Red Cross, Northern Division, records, 1915-1921. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. [P781]

Letter to Knute Nelson from A.H. Vernon - April 9, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 9, 2017

Just days after President Wilson asks Congress to declare war with Germany, Little Falls lawyer A.H. Vernon writes Senator Knute Nelson for a recommendation to be appointed as an officer in the army. Also referring Mark Buckman, Vernon describes that his qualifications as a political reporter for the Pioneer Press and a practicing lawyer. He describes Buckman as having more practical skills in mechanics and pharmacology. However, Vernon’s main reason for requesting a position in the army is for integrity’s sake. He explains that he feels he can be an example, “as [he] has done a good deal of patriotic talking, and [doesn’t] believe talk without action amounts to very much if a fellow is at an age where he can do some active work.”



Partial Transcription:

April 9, 1917

Hon. Knute Nelson,
U.S. Senate,
Washington, D.C.
My Dear Senator:-
Since writing you regarding the military training camps for civilians, I see by the papers that on account of the war they will be discontinued, and training camps for reserve officers held instead. I therefore thought I would make application for a comission as reserve officer, and would write to see what is the proper procedure. [...] I don't know what the situation is , and while it will be a great sacrifice for me to close up shop here, as I have just got my practice well established, I feel that I should do so, and that the example would be worth something, as I have done a good deal of patriotic talking, and don't believe talk without action amounts to very much if a fellow is at an age where he can do some active work. [...]
Yours sincerely,
A.H. Vernon


Knute Nelson Papers, 1861-1924

"Latin Americans Expected to Join this Nation in War" and "Measures Move Forward Rapidly with Preperation" - The Daily People's Press. Owatonna, Minnesota, April 8, 1917.

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 8, 2017

Diary entry by Mary T. Hill - April 7, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 7, 2017

In her diary entry from April 6, 1917, Mary Hill reflects upon the United States’ declaration of war against Germany. That day, the wife of railroad magnate James Hill had attended a three-hour-long church service in New York City, and she later received the news that Congress had passed its war resolution. She notes succinctly, “War declared today. That is the beginning. God above knows the end.” Over the course of the war, Mary Hill would become an active supporter of the American Red Cross. Still, it would be over a year before U.S. troops would be shipped overseas to join in the fighting.



New York. Good Friday. A dark wet morning. Clara feeling more comfortable today. Gertrude and I went to the uptown Jesuite [sic] Church to the 3 hour service. A most impressive Service. Mamie came in this afternoon. War declared today. That is the beginning. God above knows the end.


1915-1920. Mary T. Hill Papers. 64. C.5.6 Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota

Deer Call

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 7, 2017

A deer call made from wood with a piece of tin tied to it, which would imitate a fawn call. Made by Wolf Chief, Hidatsa, in 1918.

"U.S. At War With Germany" and "Proclamation is Duly Signed by President", The Duluth Herald - April 6, 1918

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | April 6, 2017

Electric Fetus Mug

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | April 6, 2017

A frosted plastic mug celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Minneapolis record store, The Electric Fetus, in 1988. It features a Soul Asylum illustration on one side. Owned by Karl Mueller, the bassist for Soul Asylum.